tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 6, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT
tonight in our survey i asked you are the republicans negotiating in good faith on the debt ceiling. 9% said yes, and 91% said no. great to be back with you. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. stunning verdict. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight -- not guilty. it's the case that's moved from a tabloid fascination to a mainstream obsession. casey anthony accused of killing her own 2-year-old daughter covering up the crime and partying until the dead girl was found. shortly after 2:00 p.m. eastern the world stopped as people stared at cable news channels
they were all covering the verdict live to hear the jury's decision. not guilty of murder or manslaughter. nbc's kerry sanders called it a stunned, jaw-dropping moment. most thought the verdict would go the other way. also, is the republican party willing to risk economic armageddon in the name of religion? that is, the religion of no taxes? the gop have been the mojaves of the american government, willing to bring down the whole country in the service of ideology. this is no phony crisis. if we're not careful the country risks becoming greece. not ancient greece, by the way, current greece. also, does mitt romney even believe what he says? for months he said president obama made the economic worse. last week he denied ever having said that. yesterday he said it again. republicans still looking for mr. or ms. right, romney is just mr. right now. after president obama took on the republicans for defending tax breaks for wall street biggies, republicans cried class warfare, but who's playing class warfare when the gop proposes
trillions in spending cuts on programs that help regular people and not a penny in new taxes for the wealthy? let me finish with the people in congress willing to hurt their own country. i'm serious about this. in order to destroy a presidency. we start with the stunning not guilty verdict of casey anthony. thank you for joining us, susan. it's great to you have back. we always have you back at the strangest moments. this jury trial, you know, we all watched the o.j. case. everybody in america seemed to have an opinion whether he was guilty or not. maybe that was resolved in a different way in vegas. months and years later. but this case is so fresh in our minds and hearts. people have watched the face and attitude of casey anthony now for weeks on this network and elsewhere. look at the picture now. we looked what happened today. incredible emotion of this young woman. were you surprised as an expert by the not guilty verdict on all the capital counts? >> i was shocked and i was
stunned, and i stared at my television set in utter disbelief. but i have to remember that my perception of this case is vastly different from these jurors and from members of the public at large. people fall into three categories -- she did it, let her fr. i don't know what happened, i'm so confused. and there's doubt all over the place, and it was an accident. so people actually believe what the defense came up with, or they were just so confused and they had reasonable doubt. as an expert i thought the case was proven, and i was shocked and stunned by this verdict, chris. >> my father, who sat in court for 30 years as the senior court stenographer in philadelphia told me once if you're innocent have a judge decide the case. the judge will be rational. he or she will make a decision that makes some kind of sense. if you're guilty, go with a jury. you can never predict a jury. just can't predict them.
is that your belief or do you continue to hold faith your on judgment outside the court where most of the time match the judgment of the people in the jury panel? >> no. in my judgment, it doesn't matter. >> that's right. now aren't you surprised the fact the juries have once again shown us that they make decision in that room we're not party to? >> clearly they were sequestered. no infiltration of that jury or they would have known not only was the world watching most of the world already convicted casey anthony. the second thing it shows, they really decided on the evidence or lack thereof presented to them in that courtroom. and they were unanimous. you'd think perhaps along with your dad's theory, that there would be a hung jury. nope. a unanimous quick verdict and it sounds to me like they had made up their minds a long time ago, whatever the state was selling, they weren't buying it. >> let me suggest the possible logical explanation before we
hear from the jurors in the days and weeks ahead, one or two will start to talk i assume. we saw on television, learned of a young girl, a baby, really, was killed. we know all kinds of horror about that. how it wasn't explained and wasn't reported or anything for weeks and weeks and nobody seemed to take responsibility especially the mother. we also saw the attitude of this young woman in court. we all made judgments about the attitude. angry, seemed to be antisocial. who knows what, it was something we were looking at. but there was this giant hole of information between that woman's face we're looking at again here now and a tragedy and could never find ourselves in our minds going step by step to how it happened. you think that's what the jury found itself? and didn't buy this alternative theory that father somehow had done something, but couldn't bring itself step by step to the commission of this horror? >> one theory, there was reasonable doubt. the state did not have a cause of death. didn't actually even have actual
proof of murder. and if there was a murder which wasn't exactly proven it was a leap to link casey to it, although there was circumstantial evidence. then the defense went with that fantasy forensics and had the war of the experts. it's possible the jury said, i don't know who to believe. i'm going to throw it all out. or they actually bought the defense's theory of accident. and that this child died accidentally. there was no murder, which is perhaps why they didn't go for one of the lesser includeds. it wasn't they didn't think she did premeditated. they didn't think this child was murdered at all. >> just to finish out your thought there, do you think in any way they bought the real defense case, that somehow the grandfather in this case came along and made it look like a crime, even though it was an accident? >> a little hard for me, because i did think the prosecution was good when they said, who makes an accident look like murder? and i did think they were also
effective when they said casey anthony points the finger at everybody but herself when she's the proven liar of the case. but it's really hard to tell. it's either they thought it was an accident or they just weren't buying what the state was selling, it just wasn't good enough to convict. either reasonable doubt or accident. >> let's watch the action. the stunning moment everybody will remember, at least for a while. listen to the not guilty verdict when it was read. >> to the charge of first-degree murder, verdict to count 1, we the jury find the defendant not guilty. as to the charge of aggravated child abuse, verdict is to count 2, we the jury find the defendant not guilty. as to the charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, verdict as to count 3, we the jury find the defendant not guilty. >> bring in nbc's chief legal analyst savannah guthrie. savannah, so good to have you, because i know you so well and know how well you understand these things as an attorney and as a correspondent at the big level. this is a case that has fascinated a lot of people, including me.
what did you think? as a reporter, can you even say that you were stunned? >> i have to say, i was surprised. the reason i was surprised is because how quickly the jurors came back with this verdict and the fact it was a wholesale rejection of the prosecution's case. i mean, the jurors had an array of charges to consider. everything from the top charge of first-degree death penalty eligible murder all the way down to just a straight charge of child abuse, and even though anyone watching this case could see the problems of proof the prosecutors were dealt. the fact we don't know when caylee died, or exactly how caylee died although prosecutors had theories that were consistent with the evidence, but the evidence wasn't dispositive of those theories. at the end of the day, i thought the jurors might get back there in the jury room and say you know what? given her behavior, not reporting the child missing for 31 days, that stench of death emanating out of the trunk of the car, which multiple
witnesses agreed to, she's got something to do with this and we may not know what it is but we can't let her walk free. i thought the jurors might do something like that. i should say what they did do, if they really didn't think prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt. the right thing. looked at lawsuit. looked at the jury instructions and determined the elements of the charges had not been met. i think a lot of people were very stunned. >> one of the things missing, we've been looking just now as you spoke, nice pictures of mother and child playing playfully and delightedly to the enjoyment of both. we don't have a guy threatening his wife for months, seen yelling at her in the streets and hitting her and finally killing her. there's no preliminary event that anybody pointed to abuse of this isn't that -- that would seem to me, as a juror, wait a minute. never had anybody say she hit her daughter, yelled at her daughter, abused her in any way.
>> i think you put your finger on it. i've always thought, said it a few times, the motive was the weakest part of the prosecution case. prosecutors don't have to prove motive. it's not an element of the crime. they would not have seen motive on a jury sheet. as a practical matter jurors want to know why people act a certain way. prosecutors like to put on motive. in this case, prosecutors put on evidence of motive. here's a young mother, somebody who was a parent too soon and wanted to go out and party and live the good life. the problem is, as you point out, it wasn't entirely consistent with the evidence. yes, there was evidence that she was carefree and wanted to go out and have a good time. on the other hand, a lot of her contemporaries, friends who came in and said we all knew about caylee. all asked for caylee. there weren't boyfriends who said i didn't know she had a daughter. she had a mother and father. the grandparents of caylee, who doted on this child, who loved
to take care of her and play with her. so presumably, casey anthony could have, you know, dumped the child on her parents at any time she wanted to, if she wanted to go out at night. always something about the motive that the prosecutors offered that didn't quite add up to me. although i understand why they argued that as the motive, because to some extent it was consistent with the facts they had. >> susan, back to you with that question. the absence of evidence of abuse was a problem for the jury to condemn her? >> hard to say. i see what you're saying, there's a link between the videos and what was presented at court. the chloroform and the allegation, she chloroformed her child. to me, that's aggravated child abuse. even if it was that one instance during the time of the commission of the felony to get to first-degree murder i thought the prosecution did prove child abuse. again, i wasn't on the jury and didn't have the difficulty making the leap from those videos to the child. to me the circumstantial evidence to me was strong.
you step back. what other logical conclusion could you come to by the way the child, savannah points out, the stench of death in the trunk, the mitochondrial root of the hair, the way she was disposed of in the swamp? all the things that belonged to her at the time she was found, casey was the only person that had access to. if you add it all up, and stand back, as the prosecution said, look at the forest and don't get lost in the trees. it's a mystery like with jonbenet ramsey. what did happen to caylee? >> here's one of the attorneys following the verdict, taking a whack at the media. here he is. >> this is a lesson to those of you that have indulged in media assassination for three years, bias and prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be. i'm disgusted by some of the
lawyers that have done this, and i can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don't know a damn thing about and don't have the experience to back up their words or the law to do it. now you've learned a lesson. >> savannah, that's rather righteous of him, and i can only imagine what he would have said if his client was convicted, but the stories they were throwing in front of that jury about the grandfather, seems like you're an expert of defense attorneys. they'll basically do what it takes to get their client off including developing rather absurd even narratives? >> well -- >> go ahead, susan. i'm sorry. >> to that i would say, pot, kettle, black. yeah, the prosecution has a job, which is to search for the truth in the courtroom and seek justice. the defense's job, get their client off at any cost. short of crossing an ethical line.
savannah, sorry. >> savannah coming up with the idea that the grandfather was involved in the cover-up to make him look like the villain or something close to it, what defense attorneys are capable of to win a case and they succeeded. >> because we haven't heard from the jurors, we don't know if it was persuasive to the jury. it may be they thought the prosecutors failed to meet their burden of proof and may have rejected the defense theory as much as they rejected the prosecution's theories. until we talk to the jurors we don't know. i thought the prosecutors did a good job of debunking defense theories. why it didn't make sense. the defense lawyer was criticized by the pundits out there who shall remain nameless that there was no need for the defense to tell this elaborate story of george anthony, the cover-up and sexual allegations because, frankly, just picking at the prosecution's evidence and pointing out the weaknesses
and flaws in the prosecution's evidence was sufficient to give jurors a reasonable doubt about these charges. until we hear from jurors, though, we don't know whether they bought the defense's theory or just rejected the prosecution's evidence. >> i'm sure defense attorneys look at it as the ends justify the means, they got their person off. my dad was right. you can't predict a jury. that was after 30 years of experience. thank you very much. great having you on, susan, and thank you savannah guthrie. coming up, much more on the acquittal. the latest reaction to the stunning verdict from florida when we come back. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ♪ [ male announcer ] if it's true that sharks can sense even a drop of blood from a quarter of a mile away, which razor would you use? ♪ ♪
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welcome back to "hardball." the not guilty verdict was a stunner to many who have for followed the case closely. let's go to orlando and meg trick her. thank you for joining us. your own reaction as a professional defense attorney when you saw that jury verdict. what was it? >> i was surprised. i was expecting them to split the difference. i'm surprised they did not guilty on all the major counts. what a shocker. i can't wait to hear from some of these jurors to what they were thinking. i'll be honest, legally they definitely did not have a death penalty case here.
they overcharged the case. they did that as a prosecutorial ploy to get a death-qualified jury. that's what actually i think hurt them. for going on such a strong charge, the jury went the whole other direction and acquitted her on everything. she'll probably get out on thursday. >> well, with the benefit of hindsight, what was an appropriate charge if there was one to win a conviction if there was one appropriate here. >> i was thinking second-degree murder. there's just not enough dots to connect with direct evidence that she's the one who sat down premeditated. she didn't do that here. there's no way this was first-degree murder. i don't have a problem with prosecution -- i have a problem with them going with death penalty. they did that to get a pro-prosecution jury in my opinion.
which is a death-qualified jury. people that are okay with giving the death penalty. when you have people giving okay with the death penalty, they're more prosecutorial oriented. that's more obvious. >> let me play defense attorney. it seems to me they never were able to connect. maybe -- who knows. on the actual commission of the murder. they also never have connected through habit or through apparent pattern of abuse. they never showed her spanking the kids or yelling at her, no evidence that she didn't like the kid. the jury's supposed to say slam-bang execute this woman, put her away forever, either one, because we think given all the evidence around it that she must have done it. >> that's exactly right. normally there's a thing called similar transactions. there was not a single witness that got up there and said i've
seen her give her benadryl because she's too loud or give her chloroform or xanax, any of the different theories that were floated out there. so all of a sudden why would you chloroform somebody? that doesn't make any sense. >> last question, i was going to say congresswoman -- i'm used to congress people being on the show. do you think the judge will give her more service, more time in prison or give her what she's already gotten? >> she'll get time served, i'm pretty confident on that. she was only requitted of four misdemeanor charges. technically they could be consecutive, which means one after the other, but generally those kind of sentences are concurrent. she's already served close to three years. these are misdemeanor charges. i think she'll be free on thursday, that's my opinion. >> don't most defendants who are actually guilty, if not provably guilty, don't they make up stories?
if you make up a defense in your narrative, in your own defense, is that criminal? >> absolutely not. i understand the burden of proof is on the prosecution. we all hear different versions, we all perceive different versions. that does not make you a criminal, not even remotely, so i think the jury did well. they listened to the evidence >> meg strickler, thank you. up next, we'll get back to politics and what happened when mitt romney and jon huntsman crossed path on the fourth of july parade in new hampshire. can you stand the excitement? that's next on the sideshow. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. 8gg@ú
back to "hardball" and now to the "sideshow" return of the know nothings. foreign policy experience. who needs it? here ' 2012 hopeful herman cain, never held elective office, yet on the "today" show show. >> and i'm already talking to national security people. former intelligence people. talking to former generals and people in the military, to begin to develop ideas about how i would deal with those crises that we're in. you don't need foreign policy experience to know who your friends are and who your enemies are and you don't need foreign policy experience to know that you don't tell your enemy what your next move is. >> what you don't know won't hurt you, we're getting what i don't know won't hurt you. it's preposterous, but maybe in this environment, mildly sellable. remember, sarah palin sells a version of it and millions are buying it. next, when candidates collide. mitt romney and jon huntsman yesterday crossed paths at a
parade in the granite state. romney came over and said, welcome to new hampshire. it's not beijing but it's lovely. huntsman response, the air is breathable. who are these people that talk like this? neither are geniuses in small talk and spontaneity ain't their strong suits. let's roll in the teleprompters. up next the tea party republicans ready to bring down the economy in the name of ideology. they're determined to bounce america's savings bonds and have america become like greece. that's ahead, you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. >> announcer: there's a new breakthrough for men experiencing hair loss. introducing the new extreme lasercomb from hair club. it's quick, easy and affordable, and the extreme lasercomb is revolutionary. here's how it works. d.h.t. forms around the hair follicle, which shortens the lifespan of your hair. the extreme lasercomb combats hair loss, causing the hair follicle to grow thicker, stronger hair. this new technology is f.d.a.-cleared and clinically proven to work in 93% of candidates. call now for more information
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welcome back to "hardball." on july 22nd, 17 days from today, lawmakers need to start the machinery so rate the debt ceiling. are republicans willing to default on the united states debt? and joining us from capitol hill, senator mccaskill. you're normal, somewhere in the center, and i look around me with fanatics. mostly on the right, some of the left. seems to me they're quite willing when i hear them talking, your own colleague senator roy blount dismissing the deadline saying the deadline is never really a deadline. i don't think world markets are going to get roiled, and i don't think our creditors are not going to get paid. here's someone from the right, michele bachmann, dismissing the consequences of not raising the debt. let's listen to her.
>> well, first of all, it isn't true that the government would default on its debt. very simply the treasury secretary can pay the interest on the debt first and then from there we have to prioritize our spending. >> this to me is scary. what's your view? that these people are willing to go right into armageddon, not face the warning signs, go right off the cliff and take this country into greece, into the way the world watches us go down the hill? >> yeah. it's a real problem, compromise has become a dirty word and frankly, our country has been the greatest country on the planet, because our democracy has learned the art of compromise. now compromise is something the two ends of the spectrums don't want to see happen and we're going to suffer for it. the other thing is frustrating about this, chris, that i think they are trying to tell the american people that when we raise the debt limit we're asking for permission to spend more money. that's not true. all we're doing is making good on the spending that's already occurred.
this would be like going out and buying a new car. these guys all voted for the spending. they all voted for the things that put us in this deficit position and now they're saying they don't want to pay the bill. it's like they bought a new car and don't want to make payments. it is defaulting, and we will default on obligations our government has. whether it's to people who are getting a social security check or to our military pay or whether it's to our debt that we have to pay, and all of those things would have serious and significant consequences. people need to quit trying to win elections and start solving the problem. >> what seems to me is paperboys, told buy savings bonds. because they're as good as you can get. now we're saying renege, default on savings bonds. it's like a religion to us as kids. now a new crazy religion. you can't raise revenue even when you have higher expenses. >> i think one of the things we'll do this week which i hope will be helpful, we're going to debate a sense of the senate that, you know, the median
income has gone down for most american families over the last several years. while last year the ceos of the top fortune 500 companies got a 20% pay raise. last year. a 20% pay raise. and all we're saying is, shouldn't the millionaires, the multi-millionaires, do a little bit to help out here? can't we compromise on both ends of the spectrum? do a little bit on revenue. look at some of the means testing we can do on our entitlement programs, come up with a comprehensive package that represents a good compromise and do what we should do for our kids and grandkids, and that is, keep america the economic super power that it's always been in the world. >> you know, i heard this weekend at the aspen ideas weekend at the aspen ideas these big idea people get together. i've never heard it so bluntly. ed shultz, wait until he hears this, maybe he knows it already, my colleague, wait until he hears this. we're not suffering from inflation with the oil prices up, workers are getting
squeezed. they're paying higher prices and not getting wages to catch up with them. they're the one, the middle class working person, man and woman, the ones paying for inflation by making less real income. that's what's going on. >> exactly what's going on. and i mean i was fascinated by all of these republicans who wouldn't vote to take away paychecks from the oil companies, from taxpayers. taxpayer subsidies to the most wealthy and successful corporations in the history of the planet and turn around and say subsidies to the people who grow corn are terrible. i'm like, really? really? this makes no sense. >> my problem -- senator, one thing we'll hear from friends on left, that is fight harder. my question is, does the president have any choice between default and defeat? if he stands against the crazies and says we're going to have to have revenues, they say no, and then we face default, everybody pays for that in this country. in history we pay. any defeat handing the republicans exactly what they want on the right, just spending cuts, no taxes? is there any alternative?
>> i think it's a big mistake if we don't do what's right, and that is, to do a little bit on the tax expenditure side, clean up the tax code, take it away, some of the goodies from folks doing really well and at the same time, look at some of the means testing we should have put in place in the first place in medicare part d. we shouldn't be buying warren buffett's prescription drugs, for gosh's sake. we're broke! we can't afford to buy rich people's drugs. i believe we should hold out for the compromise. i hope the american people agree. there's nothing wrong with being in the moderate middle if it means you find some common sense solutions. >> i'm with you, senator. let's go to joan walsh from salon. this is a real tough one. this isn't about metaphor or crazy talk. this is about looney tuned history from some. this is about america and what's happening in greece. when you spend time with economists they scare the
bedickens out of you because we look at countries going into default and insolvent now and we're willing to say to creditors around the world, we're not paying you. the united states we grew up with is no longer good for its debt. we're now a deadbeat country. >> this is a kind of economic hostagetaking, chris. you know and it i know it. it actually does have something in common with what you and i have been talking about these last two years. these people, the tea partiers and their friends and their enablers and their corporate friends like dick armey, they have created this shrieking on the right, and this sense of the country being ungovernable and the sense that the majority of people feel this way, when you and i both know that most people think the deficit is a much lower problem than jobs. people know the middle class is being squeezed, the middle class squeeze is actually making the deficit work because people cannot pay their taxes, are getting unemployment. making the economy better is actually good for the deficit. the president's trying to say
that. you know, he can't cave now. he can't cave now and i know -- what you're saying. you and i both are -- >> what's the alternative? here's the question. >> i don't know. you know what? you and i sit here -- >> is it default or defeat? these cannot be the only two options. >> they are really willing to go to default, because if the economy falls apart, it's on his shoulders, but if he caves entirely on all spending cuts and no revenue, he's missed and opportunity to make a deal and the economy gets worse. >> how does he do it? >> that is bad -- i don't know how he does it. if he doesn't do it by compromises now and i don't do it by telling him to compromise, please, don't put me on the far left because i'm not. but as long as people on the left are not sitting here saying, these are our principles. this is what we need to do for the economy. this is hurting the economy. and this tiny minority who does not represent the american people is forcing us to do this. they raised the debt ceiling
seven times under george w. bush. medicare part d, as the wars and tax cuts. as the deficit ballooned. not a word was said. >> i'm with you on this. by the way, if we're spending 25% of or gdp and taxing 16%, we can see where we have to hit. got to raise revenues. part of the solution. there is no other way in the world. anybody looking at those numbers. we can't -- tax people so little compared to what we're spending, can't. >> paying lowest taxes in more than 50 years. more than my lifetime and still complaining. and some aren't complaining. good business people know this game of chicken in particular is deadly and it's wrong and hostagetaking. you shouldn't negotiate with hostage-takers. >> i agree it's terrorism. thank you, joan walsh, as always. up next, what happened when no wonder republicans don't seem to be happy with the presidential candidates this time around. this is "hardball," only on msnbc. this past year alone there was a 93% increase in cyber attacks.
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welcome back to "hardball." the republican party is known for resting much of its power in governing and pride themselves in picking a presidential candidate early, as they did with george w. back in 2000. why are we seeing gop leaders coalescing around a candidate? why don't they seem to be happy with the candidate list making the rounds now? well, john harris is editor and chief of politico. john heilemann is with "new york" magazine, covering the romney campaign for what it is up in new hampshire. i want to start with john heileman. let's look at romney in action here. there ain't much to watch but here he is and then we'll judge him. does romney really know where he stands when it comes to fundamental questions, how the economy is and how the president is doing? here's romney hitting president obama over the recession. obama on the recession over the past month. see if you can find a consistent thought. let's listen. >> when he took office the economy was in recession, and he made it worse. >> what this president has done
has slowed the economy. he didn't create the recession, but he made it worse. and longer. the president's failed. he did not cause this recession, but he made it worse. >> last week when an nbc producer asked him if the economy was really worse than it was in 2009, romney walked back those statements. >> i didn't say the things were worse. what i said was that the economy hasn't turned around. >> well he did, of course, say they were worse. we taped it three times. after getting hammered for backtracking, he reverted to his original charge against the president yesterday. let's listen to the latest. >> president obama did not cause the downturn, but he made the recession deeper and longer than it needed to be, and he made the recovery anemic. >> john harris, maybe that's one of the reasons republican big shots like the governors across the country, the boys club if you will, some women as well, are wondering at the top why they don't have a strong candidate when they have a strong opportunity? what's the feeling about romney?
can he perform? does he have the right stuff to simply do the job of winning a fairly winnable campaign against this president given economic conditions? >> the republican establishment and in particular the people you mentioned, the republican governors are not necessarily even in like with mitt romney is encapsulated in that. it comes down to doubts about his candidacy skills. is he somebody that is going to be effective in taking the fight to president obama? in the fall of 2012? as you say, it's a great opportunity in some ways, and in other ways they recognize that president obama's going to be a formidable opponent. is romney up to it? bill clinton out in aspen this weekend, at the so-called ideas festival, he said romney's a candidates skill candidate skills are getting way better, a much improved candidate versus 2008, but that series of clips showed, that's grading on a
curve. >> you think they might be sandbagging the guy? >> look, he's had good days and not so good days and he a run of not so good days and it really raises -- it reminds people anew why they're somewhat skeptical of him. he's clearly the front-runner but among the weaker front-runners we've seen in some time. >> john heilman, it looks like he's sandbagging the guy, saying what a great job romney is doing when he isn't doing a great job. blow him up so he looks big and fat so we can eat him? like a christmas turkey. >> well -- >> clinton is that strategic? >> that's strategic times ten. i wouldn't put anything past bill clinton in that area. there is a means a notion, that romney is better and on the stump, i can say i've seen him a couple times today and yesterday, i think it's generally true. he is more comfortable speaking in front of groups. more comfortable taking questions from people. he is more natural and more fluid and easier on his feet, but he still does have the
tendency sometimes to put his foot in his mouth and the problem as john harris alluded to, because he has this reputation from 2008 as having been a flip-flopper everyone's antennas are on alert trying to catch him flip-flopping again. that's true for republican establishment and primary voters. they think that's a big problem for him and are giving him more scrutiny in that area than they would for other candidates. >> is he mr. right or mr. right now? >> certainly mr. right now. you said it, george w. bush, who was a front runner early in 2000, it wasn't the case in 2008, john mccain was a front runner who collapsed in 2007, then managed to resurrect himself. in 1996, not a lot of notable enthusiasm for bob dole, then in the end he was able to win the nomination easily.
you don't need early coalescence. that may be the case for romney at this time. >> i get a sense there's no excitement for this candidates. this election next year, i think we agree, it's a 50-50, at best a toss up, right? it's a toss up. the toss up, here's michele bachmann on "face the nation" saying there's no danger to face the debt. i don't think this is a responsible for statement for somebody that's a front runner, but let's listen to her. >> first of all, it isn't true the government would default on its debt, because very simply the treasury secretary can pay the interest on the debt first, then from there we have to prioritize our spending. the interest on the debt isn't any more than 10% of what we're taking out, in fact it's less than that. so the treasury secretary can simply pay the interest on the debt first, then we're not in default.
>> she sounds like somebody who's been talked to by somebody telling a house to her, it's a balloon loan, you don't have to pay anything but the interest. i'm sorry, michele bachmann sounds like somebody that's not a responsible leader if they say it's not a default problem coming up in august. john harris, this is tea party talk, is it american leadership talk, somebody that cares about the country talking? >> michele bachmann has a great year for the republican conversation. it's not just her making the point, we're hearing a lot from the republicans in congress. tim geithner has had to push back against this line of reasoning, try this at home, try skipping out on your electric bill and water bill and see if that affects your ability to get a mortgage. >> this sounds like she's talking like a person who doesn't want to face up to the realities of governing, simply the realities of right-wing politics.
>> i think she's talking like a person that knows what people want to hear. it's interesting, i heard on the radio, former reagan budget director, making the same point because he wants to see a credit crisis because he believes the only way for real long-term reform in fiscal priorities and planning for there to be a huge crisis in the bond market. people are not generally talking about it unless they are trying to provoke a crisis or they don't know what they are talking about. >> stockman is the guy that got us in the mess in the '80s. some day we'll deal with the deficit and spending cuts. he got us on this path to insanity. david stockman, i don't think he's paid his student loans either. just a thought. that was a problem for him way back when for him. he's probably paid them by now. thank you. when we return, let me finish with the deadbeats on the right.
let me finish tonight with some words i have for the screaming fanatics we hear seriously talking about the united states government refusing to pay what it owes, deadbeats, people who buy things and don't pay for them. people who make bets and don't cover them, deadbeats. how about this, you have people telling the american public we
don't have to honor the pledge the u.s. government has made since i was delivering newspapers as a kid, being told and believing there's nothing on earth as solid as a u.s. savings bond. now we have people saying the government doesn't have to be what we've been taught to look up to as as good as its word. congressman bachmann saying we don't have to pay what the government owes, we have to pay the interest. great. she's pushing the selling national debt as a balloon loan we can make low-interest payments on in hopes things will turn out swimmingly that borrowing doesn't really carry a real-life price tag, that we can wish away responsibility. well, we the american people have a challenge to make sure the government does have to pay what it owes. two and a half weeks to get a bill passed in congress, if that doesn't happen, we expect the world to begin talking up the
united states is on the verge of becoming a government with solvency problems. we'll hear the death watch from friend and enemy alike, the markets start to fall, rates of interest charge rise higher, and when this happens, loss of reputation, real, matter, and won't be erased by time, because once you have a reason to doubt a country's commitment to reach its debts, the borrower and currencies will know there comes times when the united states is not really there or sure with its commitments because it happened before, it happened in 2011, when the u.s. congress refused to do its job, when american business refused to raise alarm, when the american people sat and watched as the phrase that american government became not so good at all. those here willing to hurt, even their own country in order to hurt this president.